Bulls-Hornets Preview

New Orleans Hornets Status Check:
Record: 19-34
Division: 4-7
Conference: 10-23
Road Record: 10-19
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Streak: Won 2
Last game: 99-63 win over Portland
PPG: 94.1 (23rd)
Opponents PPG: 97.1 (14th)
Offensive Rating: 105.0 (14th)
Defensive Rating: 108.4 (27th)
Pace: 88.9 (29th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .496 (11th)
Turnover Percentage: .142 (24th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .742 (8th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .274 (14th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .207 (18th)
Opp. eFG%: .511 (27th)
Opp. TO%: .132 (22nd)
Opp. FT/FGA: .207 (18th)
Leading scorer: Ryan Anderson (17.1)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

New Orleans Injury Report:
Eric Gordon: probable (sprained right hand)

Unsure if Derrick Rose will return this season, the Bulls sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference after the All-Star Break. They limped into the break with a bunch of injuries, which showed as they went 2-5 over their last seven games (all against playoff teams).

The schedule doesn’t get much easier, as Chicago will play their last 30 games of the season. Before April, the Bulls play Miami twice (both at home), the Pacers twice, the Thunder, Spurs, Jazz, Nuggets, Nets, Warriors and Lakers. That’s a tough stretch even if Chicago was at full health.

The Bulls are getting a point guard back tonight, but it’s not the one many people were expecting by the All-Star Break. Kirk Hinrich will return to the lineup after missing seven games with an elbow infection. Hinrich will go back to the starting line-up, and Nate Robinson will come off the bench again.

Robinson has started 12 games this season, and has come off the bench 40 times. In the games he starts, he is averaging 13.7 points on 41.6 percent shooting in 35.0 minutes. In the games he is a reserve, he averages 11.5 points on 44.8 percent shooting in 20.4 minutes of action.

The Hornets are in last place in the Southwest division, but are on a two-game win streak and are 4-1 in their last five games. They are coming off a blowout win over the Trail Blazers, in which Portland shot 32.4 percent from the field and was out-rebounded 52-35 (15-6 on the offensive glass). Only three players for Portland scored in double-figures and two of their best players combined for nine. Nicolas Batum went 1-10 from the field for three points and LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t much better, shooting 2-11 and finishing with six points. Everyone on the Trail Blazers recorded a negative plus/minus except Wesley Matthews, who played two minutes and recorded a zero.

Anthony Davis posted a double-double (21 points, eleven boards), Ryan Anderson went 2-5 from deep off the bench for 14 points and Greivis Vasquez overcame his poor shooting (3-8) to tally ten points, eight assists and five rebounds.

Not to take anything away from the Hornets, but it seems like Portland was looking ahead to the All-Star break a little bit, rather than worrying about that one last contest.

The Bulls had their own embarrassing loss to enter the break, falling to Boston in a 71-69 game that lacked offense (and fun). The Celtics shot 36.8 percent, only to be outdone by the Bulls 36.5 percent. The Bulls out-rebounded Boston, 49-39, but turned it over 22 times for 20 points going the other way. The Bulls scored eleven points off 12 Boston turnovers.

Tonight is the last time this season the Bulls will play the Hornets, and Chicago can get revenge for an 89-82 early November loss. Boozer went 1-8 in the loss, as did Kirk Hinrich. Rip Hamilton made two shots, matching Boozington and Kirk by himself, but also missed ten. Those three guys combined for ten points. Luol Deng led the Bulls with 19 points and Nate scored 15 off the bench, but Chicago shot 33.0 percent and finished 3-17 from deep.

The Pelicans, who were missing number one pick Anthony Davis because of a concussion, didn’t shoot well, but did enough to take care of the Bulls. Vasquez scored 18 points; Robin Lopez went 7-10 from the field and posted 16 points and four blocks. Jason Smith hit 4-5 shots and all eight free throws off the bench for New Orleans as he dropped 16 points.

Eric Gordon is also expected to play tonight. Gordon is averaging 16.4 points this season.

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